chapter  5
25 Pages

‘Plaide in 1613’: authorial and scribal manuscripts in the playhouse

After the Master of the Revels contributed to the transmission of a play-text, and, perhaps, to the moral responsibility of its author, licensed manuscripts could pass into rehearsal, performance, and later revival. For dramatists, writing a ‘good’ play was not their only aim, nor was it ‘the bettring of maners and language’, as Herbert described it, for at least one other aim was to help guide their plays through production. A dramatist seems not to have needed the ‘approbation’ of the censor or anyone else to ‘encourage him to pursue this beneficial and cleanly way of poetry’. Instead dramatists seemed to share a contractual or personal duty to participate in the staging of their plays, even in co-ordinating with actors and other theatre personnel the use of the text in the playhouse.